It's been rumoured for longer than it takes George R.R. Martin to write a book, but it looks like we're finally getting close to the elusive Samsung foldable phone. Some new comments from Samsung Mobile CEO DJ Koh at the Samsung Galaxy A9 launch event yesterday have got our hype trains fully fuelled and ready to roll.
According to SamMobile, Koh made some comments specifically about foldable phones, which is the closest we've come to confirmation from the Korean firm:
"When we deliver a foldable phone, it has to be really meaningful to our customer" – note when, not if they deliver one – "If the user experience is not up to my standard, I don’t want to deliver those kinds of products."
Koh went on to comment on the potential audience for the device:
"I’m positive that we do need a foldable phone. Possibly when we start selling the foldable phone, it may be a niche market, but definitely, it will expand." [Like a foldable phone! Har har].
That last comment about niche markets is interesting. The rumours about the device so far suggest it'll be a normal-looking phone that opens up like a Nintendo DS: there'll be a smaller screen on the outside, and then a massive foldy one on the inside. A handheld phone with the ability to fold out into a big one when needed? Who wouldn't want that? Lots of people, according to Koh's remarks.
This makes us ponder. Either Koh thinks people aren't interested in the possibilities of fold-out devices, or – more likely – the foldy phone is going to be really expensive. It's a similar situation to VR: everyone's interested in the exciting possibilities of virtual worlds, but not many people want to stump up the cash for a top-end gaming PC and a headset system.
This would make sense with the last part of Koh's comment: "but definitely, it will expand." Over time, the shiniest, priciest new technologies come down in cost, and open up to everyone. The first desktop PCs cost two grand, now you can pick up a laptop for a few hundred quid. So from these tiny kernels of info, we're extrapolating that the Samsung foldable phone will be over £1k at first (not unlikely considering some top-end phones are £800ish now), but the price will come down over time and the format will become the new normal.
Will this article one day be quoted in "times the UK press got tech massively wrong"? Possibly. Are we excited nonetheless? Oh yes. Bring on the foldy gadgets.